IENE 2022 Award Winners

Published the 22/09/2022 #Awards #iene2020 #iene2022

At the international conference IENE 2022, which took place in Romania in Cluj Napoca from 19 to 23 September, Thomas Schuh (ÖBB) received an award for his “Concrete shell – Wildlife Bridge with Reduced Carbon Footprint” project.

The Austrian government is making historically high investments in improving the country’s railway infrastructure. However, the construction of new lines in an already fragmented landscape contributes to this negative trend due to the barrier effect of linear transport infrastructure. In an effort to mitigate the impact of landscape fragmentation, the government decided to construct a green bridge for the new railway line known as “Koralmbahn,” connecting the cities of Graz and Klagenfurt in the federal state of Carinthia. The primary goal was to reduce the barrier effect of the railway line running through the Dobrowa forest.

A new method: 

To build this fauna passage, the Austrian Federal Railway (ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG) created the bridge as a concrete shell bridge over the two rail tracks of Koralmbahn. The construction involved blowing up a plain concrete plate with a large pneumatic tire into the form of a shell, directly at the installation site. This innovative construction method, executed for the first time at such large dimensions, followed a series of preliminary experiments conducted by the Technical University of Vienna in previous years.

This groundbreaking green bridge addresses two pressing ecological problems associated with transport infrastructure construction:

  • Landscape fragmentation, a significant adverse effect of linear transport infrastructure.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from massive buildings made of steel and concrete.

The concrete shell PFHC introduces a new, resource-efficient, cost-effective, and climate-friendly construction method for green bridges, marking its first real-life and full-size application worldwide in this Austrian project. In recognition of this remarkable achievement, IENE awarded the project at the IENE 2022 international conference.

Antonio Mira and the team from the University of Evora received a special award for the organisation of the IENE 2020 conference under the theme “LIFE LINES – Linear Infrastructure Networks with Ecological Solutions”.